Public places made safer with AEDs

August 10, 2017 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

If a TV character’s heart suddenly stops, a round of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) always seems to do the trick. A few pushes on the chest, the heart is beating again and the patient is as good as new.

In real life, CPR only gives you a 14 to 20 percent chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest, says Amanda Hunt, who is manager of Simulation and Training at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

She adds, “This is better than the overall 7 to 10 percent survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest incidents outside of a hospital setting. But what can really make a difference is use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), which increases the survival rate to 50 to 70 percent.”

An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and sends a shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

Hunt cites her statistics during Edward Hospital’s Friends and Family courses that teach CPR for adults, children and infants. The numbers made quite an impression on Kandiss Hernandez who took the course, and an Edward Grandparents class, in preparation for the birth of her first grandson.

Hernandez is the executive director of Naperville-based Fair Lady Productions, the parent organization of Kidz Kabaret and Center Stage Theater. Since she founded the theater 17 years ago, she’s hosted thousands of people including students, theater patrons, employees and volunteers. She thought it was fortunate there hadn’t been an incident that called for an AED in all those years.

“I ordered an AED for the theater the Monday after my Saturday class,” says Hernandez.

Just two months after the AED arrived, the device would save the life of 80-year-old Robert McCue.

On June 9, McCue was at the theater with his family to see his 10-year-old granddaughter Casey Glassman play the Beast in a Kidz Kabaret production of Beauty and the Beast. Casey’s mother Mary McCue, who is a nurse, was with her father in the lobby before the play started when he slid to the floor. She began CPR.

Another nurse was in the theater to see her own daughter perform: Melissa Lund, who is a manager of patient care at Edward Hospital’s Immediate Care centers in Naperville, Bolingbrook and Oswego.

Soon after McCue collapsed, Lund was alerted that there was a medical emergency in the lobby. Lund came out to the lobby to help the family. She performed about three rounds of 30 chest compressions and called for an AED while Mary McCue did mouth-to mouth resuscitation.

When theater staff brought the AED, Lund connected the pads to Robert McCue. A minute or two after a single shock, he began to respond.

“I had never used an AED in a public place before,” says Lund. “It was a very powerful moment to see Mr. McCue start to move again.”

The paramedics arrived within about seven minutes and transported Robert McCue to Edward Hospital where an angiogram showed he had no serious coronary artery blockage. A couple of days later he had an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) installed to stimulate his heartbeat should he go into cardiac arrest again. He was discharged from Edward a week after the incident.

Lund later raised money to purchase an AED for the private swimming pool that her daughters’ swim team uses.

Hernandez also was inspired to follow up on the chain of events that started with her learning more about AEDs. She has reached out to the City of Naperville, Naperville Fire Department and local businesses to increase the number of AEDs in public places.

Each year Edward Hospital’s American Heart Association Training Center trains more than 18,000 hospital and community participants in basic and advanced life support skills. Learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health’s CPR and AED classes.

Find out your risk for heart and vascular disease with a five-minute HeartAware assessment.

Learn more about cardiac care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.


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